Andrew Whing has revealed how a heart-to-heart with Albion manager Micky Adams has helped him back to top form.

The Seagulls’ regular right-back, like the team, came through a sticky patch with the back-to-back home victories against Leicester and Millwall. Now, confidence fully restored, Whing is itching for a crack at Championship side Derby in the last 32 of the Carling Cup at Withdean tonight.

The former Coventry defender has pretty much made the rightback spot his own since making his loan move from the Ricoh Arena permanent at the start of last season.

That changed against Peterborough last month when, after 22 consecutive starts stretching back to March, Micky Adams relegated him to an unused substitute. Whing returned to the starting line-up at Hartlepool four days later but along with Robbie Savage, he was hauled off by Adams at half-time.

Whing was, by his own admission, fearing for his place for Leicester’s visit last week but his fortunes have turned around since clear-the-air talks with Adams.

“I think my best two games have been the last two,” Whing said.

“I got things off my chest after the Peterborough game and the Hartlepool game.

“The team weren’t playing well enough and I don’t think I was playing well enough. I went up and saw the manager and we had a good chat. He took a lot off my shoulders and I think that definitely helped for the Leicester game.

“Fortunately the gaffer put me in and I have repaid him with the last two performances. Hopefully it is a turning point in my season and ours as a team as well.”

Whing faces extra competition for his place this season. Adam El-Abd can play at right-back and so too can the re-signed Adam Virgo.

The versatile Virgo is ruled out tonight by a suspected hairline fracture of the right eye socket, which forced him off in the first half against Millwall.

He could be back in contention, wearing a mask for protection, against Hartlepool in the FA Cup on Saturday so Whing knows he has to maintain his standards.

“It is always healthy having competition,” he said.

“There were times last year when I was suspended and other lads came in and did well, so there is always pressure on your place, but more so this season, because there are more players who can play in my position.”

Adams, who also managed Whing at Coventry, believes the flame-haired Aston Villa fan is destined to be a key figure in the back four once more.

“Andy had a great start to the season but, by his own admission, his form dipped a little bit and his body language wasn’t what we were looking for,” Adams said.

“He has come through that and that’s important because when he is confident he is as good a defender as there is in the league.”

Whing knows he will need those capabilities in abundance tonight if Albion are to cause another upset against Derby after their second round victory over Manchester City.

“They are a division above us so most people don’t expect us to win but we proved them wrong against Manchester City and we are hoping to show the fans we are capable of doing it tonight as well,” Whing said.

“We matched Man City on and off the ball and we are looking to do the same. If we play with the same tempo as we did in the second half against Leicester and on Saturday then we should have no problems getting the ball down and playing and putting them under pressure.

“We have got nothing to fear and nothing to lose.”